Build psychological safety for your team in 5 steps
I was thrilled to receive so many requests for the SERVICE model I shared last week. If you missed grabbing the worksheet, you can download it here.
This week I am talking about the S in SERVICE — Safety. And in this case. psychological safety.
Psych safety has lots of definitions but I like to use the phrase, thinking it’s safe enough to put your head up with a confidence you won’t get shot down. And even if you have an opinion or make a mistake, you won’t be put into a firing squad as a result. This may seem a little militaristic (I wonder why) but it helps explain how many employees feel when things aren’t safe.
So my secret to building psych safety sits in a couple of key ideas. You can enact them today:
- Encourage curiosity in your team members — ask them to explore and experiment. Curiosity is emerging as the single most powerful force in business performance. Encourage people to be curious and be curious about them.
- Allow them to graze their knees without breaking their legs — make it ok to fail, but when they do, ensure they don’t hurt themselves or the company catastrophically. Safe failure encourages ambition and exploration. Help them find the sweet spot of Curious which sits between Cautious and Careless.
- Find learning not blame when things don’t go as expected. Think back through your own career — when did you learn? When you made a mistake right? Let your team learn without the fear they’ll get fired.
- Actively ask for opinions. As leaders, we often feel the need to have all the answers. You don’t need to anymore. You can simply ask them what they think, encourage them, and provided their answer is on the right track, let them have at it. Not only do you not have to have all the answers, but it also helps them feel more confident to speak up.
- Share with them that you are changing — when I am mentoring clients, I always suggest they tell their team they are working on themselves and what in particular. This humility helps reduce the change people see and helps them support and encourage you — making everyone feel safer.
By the way, when you’re ready, here are a couple of ways you can connect with me